101 things about me

Friday, 31 August 2007

Flashback Friday

It may not have been very musical, but the noise these birds made was amazing. I was at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary with my family and there were hundreds of birds. They all came in to feed at the same time and plates of seeds soon became crowded and heavier with each new bird joining the frenzy. I seem to remember it was too heavy for a little kid like me, which is why my Mum was doing all the hard work, while I gazed around beside her.

I still have a postcard where my cousin tells of visiting the same place and her seeing someone fall backwards into one of the bird baths! I can only imagine the state of the water.

Years later when my Dad and I went to Queensland to visit his parents we returned to find fewer birds and paint peeling from the aged attractions. Stepping into the past like that was not dissimilar to stepping onto a 70's movie set and it all seemed a little bit surreal. Their website looks like they have spent some money on upgrades in more recent times.

These bloggers love Flashback Friday too, take a look... Flashback Friday... are you in?
Angela at Three Buttons
Betty Jo at Lino Forest
Jenny at Chalk
Kylie at Kylie's Crafts
Emma at Lovely Button
Whitney at At Whit's End
Helen at Patchy Work of Mini Grey
H & B
Hannah at Summer Pickles
Shula at Poppalina
Jelly Wares
Claire at Ethel Loves Fred
Fiona at Dragonfly Crafts

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Cliff Young shuffle...

I have been running with Amy. I should say jogging. It is a steady (all be it slow) pace.

Amy has great patience and talks to keep me distracted. I try to contribute to the conversation and find it makes it easier if I can concentrate on that and not on how far I have to go. Later in the jog, my responses are a little shorter and puffier, but I am improving. She has a great policy which I love and is giving me results way and above what I was hoping for.

The rule is, no stopping no walking. I always thought the best way to start running would be to incorporate it into my walking and gradually build it up over time. NO. This is allowing the body an easy way out. Too easy to give in and not get the results I want. And so we never stop. We run. We slow down up hills and concentrate on breathing. If I start to struggle, we slow it down and then pick it up again as I recover. But we never ever stop.

I call it my Cliff Young shuffle. For those of you who don't know the name, Cliff Young, at the ripe old age of 61, shuffled his way into the record books, winning the inaugural Sydney-Melbourne ultra marathon. It is an incredible 875 kms. Pretty amazing hey!

So last night we jogged 5km! OK, it's hardly Cliff Young status, and there are probably regular runners out there who may well smirk a little at 5kms, but I am proud (and amazed) beyond belief. Fantastic achievement for someone who 3 weeks ago didn't think she could run 500 meters!

Now 10km is my new goal. Bring it on Ames, bring it on! (By the way, are these the endorphins kicking in or what??)

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Today is the 23rd of August

Today is the 23rd of August. Nothing unusual in that - yesterday was the 22nd and tomorrow is the 24th. It all makes sense... So what's the big deal?

For me it is another marker. The 23rd is always a reminder that my Birthday is an even month (or more) away. This year the 23rd of August is the 2 month marker to my 40th birthday. I know, I know, I have spoken of this in past posts, but it is on my mind and it seems I can't avoid it popping into my head at these moments. As this year is a milestone birthday, it has got me to thinking about getting old. No. Not just getting older. Getting old. O L D.

It doesn't seem that long ago I was celebrating my 30th birthday. I can still remember saying to myself: "God, how did 30 come around so damn fast? Oh well, at least I'm not 40!"

When I was a teenager, 40 seemed an aeon away. And now that I am on the brink, it seems unfair that I can no longer deny I am probably (I feel sick just muttering this phrase)... well I really am middle aged. Seriously. No matter how I look at it, it doesn't feel like I am heading in the right direction. What lies ahead is blue rinse, soft perms, flat shoes and woolly tights.

So, when does this transformation take place? When is it that men start wearing caps, short sleeved shirts with bow-ties and white knee high socks with sandals. When is it that I cut my hair short and buy hair dye in smoky shades of soft blue and talk about "the good old days" with old school friends. When do I place my marbles in one place and return later to find them gone? When do I throw out my self tan to make room for wrinkle cream and polly filler?

I already lose my keys regularly and talk to myself so maybe the signs of age are already beginning to show. A friend recently voiced her concerns that she has the first signs of Alzheimer's disease. I comforted her by saying if she could spell it, she couldn't possibly be suffering the symptoms. I (on the other hand) just had to use dictionary.com to check the spelling and was horrified to find I had it wrong! To make it even worse, I had it so badly off the mark that dictionary.com didn't even know the word I was looking for and suggested alternatives for spelling that may have been helpful. Funnily enough "old-timer's" was top of the list. So at this point it isn't looking good!

Yes wise friends, it is inevitable. Taxes and growing old (and eventually death). There is no avoiding it if we plan to continue walking on this planet. And so, what now? Well. Here's the thing. They say 40 is the new 30 and I am embracing this wholeheartedly. By the time I get to 40 in 10 years time they may be saying 50 is the next 30! Now that could get really confusing... especially given that I can barely do arithmetic now - by then I won't have a clue how old I am!

So I plan to celebrate my birthday in two months time. The big four ohhh will not go unnoticed. I plan to party with friends, play loud 80's music, share a few drinks and eat lots of cake. Acknowledge the occasion in style and the very next day, start telling every-one I am 30. That should work.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Love on a cold winter's morning...

5am this morning and I struggled to get out of bed to go out walking. Usually it is not difficult, but it is a daily ritual that has not been easy to maintain this winter. The mornings have been cold and (for the first time in many seasons) there has been rain. Despite it all, I do love this time of day and these early mornings. They make my day. If I walk early, the day seems that much easier to face. I have more energy, I am happier to meet the world and it is happier to meet me!

This morning it was COLD. Hat, scarf and beanie were all required, and at 6 degrees my breath sent fog into the air. Having dragged myself from the comfort of a warm bed, rugged myself against the impending cold and closed the front door behind me, I breathe it in.

The sky is dark at this time and often the moon and stars are still bright in the sky. It is quiet and still like no other time of day. Nocturnal animals sometimes cross my path. One morning I was walking alone and I saw a possum running along the wires, a fox in the distance and then an owl passed across the sky. I was walking along a Harry Potter street in the middle of Richmond.

This morning I was met in my street by my regular walking companion Andy. He is my motivation when the rain and wind are battering against the windows. We walked and talked and cursed the traffic noise imposing on our conversation. Soon the cold was forgotten as we shared talk of work and life and the state of the world. (Yes, at 5am nothing is spared! We could save the world in those early morning conversations!). 40 minutes later, we said our good-byes and I headed off with just 15 minutes more to home.

As I walked, I happily greeted the soft muted blue in the Eastern sky. A soft purple blended into a paler blue. Today was the first day that I have noticed the lightening sky and it was love at first sight. I love this time of day and I especially love this time of year, when the air is sharp and the early sky holds promise of springtime just around the corner. Springtime is just. around. the. corner.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

These 3 things I know...

I know that when I do these 3 things I feel good.
When I eat well (and avoid processed and fast foods).
When I sleep well (a good 8 hours a night or undisturbed horizontal zzzz time).
When I exercise regularly.

When all three are going well, I am energised, I stay posititve, I can deal with all the morons in the world as they don't concern me, and I can generally make it through the day without a diet/zero coke caffeine fix. As an added bonus I feel good about myself and I am SO much easier to get along with. Fewer grumbles and less snappy. There are many advantages to living a life with these small ingredients thrown in for good measure.

Three small things in reality, and yet there are days when I can barely manage one. When I wake in the morning to a foggy head and no enthusiasm for the day ahead, when all I want to do is eat junk and when I curse the day I agreed to meet a friend to go walking every morning. Laziness beckons convincingly. It is easier, is it not, to live a life of ease and distraction. And so the spinning begins and before I know it, I am feeling ordinary and there doesn't seem to be light at the end of the tunnel (is it dark outside, or am I even facing in the right direction!)

Eventually I remind myself what I am doing and that how I feel is within my control. I tell myself to snap out of it. I wake myself from my daze and having reminded myself of the solution I start once again to head along the track that leads to happiness. Seriously. It is (with a little determination) that simple. These things I know...

So. Back on track for me. Time to refocus, get fit, eat well, sleep well, feel good about myself and get happy!

Monday, 20 August 2007

Running with style...

I am not a runner. I would like to be a runner, but for some time, destiny has decided that it is not to be. As a child, my early foray into "little aths" was a mixture of humiliation and disaster. Jeering parents and sniggering fellow students destroyed any dreams of athletic success. I have enjoyed different sports since then, but speed (and endurance) have never been my strength.

Last year I decided to participate in a Melbourne based fun-run of just under 15km, all in the name of charity. I knew if I had to, I could walk the distance within the allocated time, and so I was unconcerned with having to run the entire distance. I began to train. Having been a daily walker for a couple of years now (generally 6kms by 6.30am) I decided the transition would not be THAT difficult. I would continue to walk, jog in sections until I couldn't jog any further and walk again. A slow build up to continual jogging. It all sounded so simple.

Two weeks and one twisted ankle later and my short-lived running career was over (as was my morning walk). It was a tremendous blow and I was genuinely disappointed.

Having tried it and regretted the experience, I decided I would never run a marathon and that fun-run was indeed the oxymoron I suspected it to be. Twisted ankle. Red face. Weak legs. Sweat. It wasn't pretty. And yet - there was a part of me that still wanted to give it another try...

And so, when not that long ago a friend of mine started training and managed to run a 10km fun-run in what I considered to be lightening speed, I was most impressed. I admired her for it. (And whilst it turns out, it wasn't quite lightening speed, for me it was encouraging and she has become my inspiration).

Having since trained a few of her non-running friends, she has now also become my trainer. She has promised that I will be able to run 5km in just a couple of months of regular training. I love her conviction though her confidence in me is somewhat disconcerting. I am just a little bit scared now that I will let her down and I will be her first failure.

Fear is a great motivator, especially the fear of disappointing someone you like and respect so I am now dedicated to at least giving it a go!

It's all in the preparation... and so, last week as the first training session approached, I worried over the important details. Would I be able to make the distance? Would she ever look at me the same once she had had to carry me home after I collapse in a heap? And most importantly, what was I going to wear? We are running along suburban streets and I am in despair about my running attire! OF COURSE! Forget the warm up, forget the diet, forget any preparation, the clothes "the look" are all that matters!

I consider labels, matching colours, hairstyles, head bands, shoes, socks, leggings and hoodies. Do I go the Cindy Crawford (cool and composed) or the Rocky Balboa (I mean business and I don't care what I look like) composition? These are the all important questions when starting out. Forget fitness and weight loss, it's all about looking stylish while my face turns red, I gasp for air, my legs burn and the sweat runs in trails down the side of my face! Wish me luck.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Flashback Friday

This is my year group from my final year at high school. It was 1985 (sorry - I didn't have any earlier pics to do pre '85). HSC was complete and we were ready to face the world, though not looking quite like this! I am the one at the back of the crowd with the white face. At that time there was little regard for political correctness and I never did quite understand the footy socks and skirt combo.

These bloggers love Flashback Friday too, take a look... Flashback Friday... are you in?
Angela at Three Buttons
Betty Jo at Lino Forest
Jenny at Chalk
Kylie at Kylie's Crafts
Emma at Lovely Button
Whitney at At Whit's End
Helen at Patchy Work of Mini Grey
H & B
Hannah at Summer Pickles
Shula at Poppalina
Jelly Wares
Claire at Ethel Loves Fred
Fiona at Dragonfly Crafts

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Just one of those days

You know the ones I mean.

When you go out for your early morning walk (to avoid the noise and fumes from the traffic) and at nearly every side street a car appears and you have to wait while they pump the throttle and spew poison into your lungs, because they are too rude to give way to pedestrians...

When you go out for breakfast and the service is bad, the toast soggy with butter and the eggs are cold before they hit the plate...

When there is a pile of work waiting in your in-tray that has miraculously appeared since the time you said your good-byes the night before...

When you try and organise a night out with a group of friends and the ONLY available date is the night you reserved weeks ago intended for nothing but you...

When the new guy at work corners you in the lunchroom (when you are trying to have some quiet work free lunch) and tells you he's got heaps of work coming in that has to be signed off ASAP because he is going to Sydney tomorrow...

When you want so much to be positive, but well, it all just seems a little too hard and you would prefer to be curled up in bed with a good book and the electric blanket turned up to high...

When you don't want to talk and don't want to listen, but people keep asking you questions anyway...

You know what I mean - it's just one of those days...

Friday, 10 August 2007

Flashback Friday

Here I was at my cousin's wedding all dressed up as her flowergirl. That's me (in lime green) and Mum with the gorgeous hair. I remember that skirt - it was purples and pinks and oranges. Very 70's.

These bloggers love Flashback Friday too, take a look... Flashback Friday... are you in?
Angela at Three Buttons
Betty Jo at Lino Forest
Jenny at Chalk
Kylie at Kylie's Crafts
Emma at Lovely Button
Whitney at At Whit's End
Helen at Patchy Work of Mini Grey
H & B
Hannah at Summer Pickles
Shula at Poppalina
Jelly Wares

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Install Love on the HUMAN Computer

I was sent this during the week. I'm not sure where it originated or who wrote it, so I cannot give them any credit. It bought a smile to my face. I hope it does the same for you! Have a good day.

Customer: I really need some help. After much consideration, I've decided to install LOVE. Can you guide me through the process?

Tech Support: Yes, I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?

Customer: Well, I'm not very technical, but I think I'm ready to install it now. What do I do?

Tech Support: The first step is to open your HEART. Have you located your HEART?

Customer: Yes, I have, but there are several other programs running right now. Is it okay to install while they are running?

Tech Support: What programs are running?

Customer: Let's see... I have PAST-HURT.EXE, LOW-ESTEEM.EXE, GRUDGE.EXE, and RESENTMENT.EXE running now.

Tech Support: No problem. LOVE will gradually erase PAST-HURT.EXE from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory, but it will no longer disrupt other programs. LOVE will eventually overwrite LOW-ESTEEM.EXE with a module of its own called HIGH-ESTEEM.EXE. However, you have to completely turn off GRUDGE.EXE and RESENTMENT.EXE. Those programs prevent LOVE from being properly installed. Can you turn those off?

Customer: I don't know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?

Tech Support: My pleasure. Go to your Start menu and invoke FORGIVENESS.EXE. Do this as many times as necessary until it's erased the programs you don't want.

Customer: Okay, now LOVE has started installing itself automatically. Is that normal?

Tech Support: Yes. You should receive a message that says it will stay installed for the life of your HEART. Do you see that message?

Customer: Yes, I do. Is it completely installed?

Tech Support: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other HEARTs in order to get the upgrades.

Customer: Oops. I have an error message already. What should I do?

Tech Support: What does the message say?

Customer: It says, "ERROR 412-PROGRAM NOT RUN ON INTERNAL COMPONENTS." What does that mean?

Tech Support: Don't worry, that's a common problem. It means that the LOVE program is set up to run on external HEARTs but has not yet been run on your HEART. It is one of those complicated programming things, but in non-technical terms it means you have to "LOVE" your own machine before it can "LOVE" others.

Customer: So what should I do?

Tech Support: Can you pull down the directory called "SELF-ACCEPTANCE"?

Customer: Yes, I have it.

Tech Support: Excellent. You're getting good at this. Now, click on the following files and then copy them to the "MYHEART" directory: FORGIVE-SELF.DOC, REALIZE-WORTH.TXT, and ACKNOWLEDGE-LIMITATIONS.DOC. The system will overwrite any conflicting files and begin patching any faulty programming. Also, you need to delete SELF-CRITICISM.EXE from all directories, and then empty your recycle bin afterwards to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.

Customer: Got it. Hey! My HEART is filling up with new files. SMILE.MP3 is playing on my monitor right now and it shows that PEACE.EXE, and CONTENTMENT.EXE are copying themselves all over my HEART. Is this normal?

Tech Support: Sometimes. For others it takes a while, but eventually everything gets downloaded at the proper time. So, LOVE is installed and running. You should be able to handle it from here. Ah, one more thing.

Customer: Yes?

Tech Support: LOVE is freeware. Be sure to give it and its various modules to everybody you meet. They will in turn share it with other people and they will return some similarly cool modules back to you.

Customer: I will! Thanks for your help!

Favourite Word #1

This is one of my favourite words... Any word with moron in it will generally amuse.
So - oxymoron... it is a figure of speech ... conjoining contradictory terms, a rhetorical device in which two seemingly contradictory words are used together for effect.

Fun Run
Working Holiday
cruel kindness
to make haste slowly
deafening silence
poor little rich girl

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

The BIG FOUR OHHHHH looms...

It is 12 weeks today until my birthday. I mention this because it has been on my mind for a while now and this year I plan to celebrate, because this year, IT'S A BIGGIE!!! This October, I reach the monumental BIG FOUR OHHHHH. Not just 40 people. This is THE BIG FOUR OHHHHH.

I can't quite believe I am waving good-bye to my thirties already. Whatever happened to the last 10 years I'd like to know? I still feel like I am 28!

I LOVE birthdays. They are a celebratory day where most people leave you in peace, to your own pleasures, and do not intrude with serious matters ... you can generally get away with most things on that one day of the year... A few too many drinks - the biggest piece of birthday cake ...A nice sleep in ...A non-attendance at the gym. Most things are allowed or at least forgiven.

So. How does one celebrate something so momentous? I had spoken for years of rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. More recently I had considered swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Western Australia. I would have loved a trip to London to visit old friends. I was even invited to another 40th birthday party - in France!

Had money not been an issue, any of these things may have been possible. Of course if money wasn't an issue, I would be somewhere else right now anyway!

So this is where I am right now - wanting to celebrate but not quite sure what to do? 12 weeks sounds like a long time away, but there are plans to make. Any ideas?

Friday, 3 August 2007

Flashback Friday

Laughter is the best medicine. This pic just makes me want to smile. There is such simple joy in the faces. This is me and my Mum.

Flasback Friday... are you in?

These bloggers love Flashback Friday too, take a look...
Angela at Three Buttons
Betty Jo at Lino Forest
Jenny at Chalk
Kylie at Kylie's Crafts
Emma at Lovely Button
Caroline at At Whit's End
Helen at Patchy Work of Mini Grey
H & B
Summer Pickles
Shula at Poppalina
Jelly Wares

Thursday, 2 August 2007

There's nothing like an airport for bringing you down to earth

Let it be known before I begin...
1. I hate being late.
2. I don't like flying.
3. I do like children - most of the time.
That's the truth as I see it.

1. I hate being late (thus my usual early arrival at airports, weddings, doctors appointments and work). Call it courtesy. Call it obsession if you must. Time is priceless. Once it is gone, there's no refund, no going back. Waiting needlessly is just plain idiotic. In accordance with this belief, I figure if I am early, I should get the treatment that reflects my efficiency. I believe, given that I have not caused any distress through tardiness, that I have not pressured any taxi driver to attempt land speed records to arrive at my destination on time and I have not been required to bribe or flirt with any local officials to avoid speeding fines, that I should get first dibs on the benefits of being first in the queue. I believe I have these rights before those who take their own sweet time and don't care if they keep people waiting. I believe this is how the world should work. What I believe and what is reality is (of course) sometimes POLES apart...

2. I do not like to fly. Despite what anyone tries to convince me, it is not a natural state to be flying 30,000 feet above the earth, and the fact we are encased in a metal cocoon, weighed down with fuel and copious amounts of luggage does nothing to comfort me. Despite being squeezed into a sardine tin with wings however, I do see it as a modern requirement which is as practical a form of transport as it is convenient. Fear not I tell myself, it is safer to travel by air than by car (though far further to fall). And so it is with some anxiety that every now and again, I step into another airport, onto another plane and outside of the comfort zone.

3. I like children - most of the time. Kids can be cute (and quiet) and happy (and quiet) and well controlled (and quiet) and they are fine travel companions. They can easily sit in their seats or on their parents laps and not reach the seat in front of them with their temper tantrum toes. Put them in a plane in a seat directly behind me with their little shoes digging into my lower back however and my delight in their chocolate coated faces and cute clothes quickly dissipates.

Children and travel do not a happy union make. They like their freedom. They like to make noise. They don't understand that other passengers prefer quiet and an uninterrupted read of the in flight magazine. It is not their fault that I do not like to fly within close proximity of anyone under the age of 4! But for me (and surely a lot of parents out there too!) it is to be avoided at all costs...

And so, the saga begins...
The airport was almost deserted. Cleaners were finishing their work, moving buckets and mops to hidden cupboards. Officials were emptying their first cup of coffee for the day and chatting at airport security. Two orange uniformed women waited patiently at the check-in counter, greeting us with superficial smiles and heady perfume. It was early, just after 7am and true to form we were there over an hour before departure.

We went through check-in. The obligatory showing of photo id followed and I ignored the disbelieving, (rather judgemental) scan from the attendant as she compared my driver's licence photo (obtained after much hair straightening and a dusting of make-up) to my some what sleep deprived tussled look prepared lazily one hour earlier. We shared little conversation and as we walked away with a reflex thank you, I pushed my boarding pass into my bag.

It was not until we were about to board that I realised that we were seated at the back of the plane. Row 28. And to make it even worse we were stuck on the aisle without easy access to a window view. Row 28. Seats B & C. The furtherest from the exit on arrival, and the closest to the area often reserved for families with small children.

There are moments when I fly, that I wish I were a child again. There are times I want to scream when the plane is landing and taking off. Noise increases with acceleration. The land shifts. The plane lifts and banks. Ears pop. This is not a pleasurable experience. Screaming at full volume seems like a reasonable response. I too want to stretch out and push my feet into the seat in front of me. Have a hissy fit about being uncomfortable, about the elbows of the passenger beside me, unmoving on a shared arm rest. I want to tear in-flight magazines down the spine and throw them around the cabin for entertainment. I want to pull the hair of the person in the seat in front of me. I want to. I want the hostess to smile and soothe my nerves with a free pack of crayons and colouring book. But as a fully grown adult, more than anything, I just want to get to my destination with the least disturbance.

SO. We were EARLY. We MUST have been nearly the FIRST to check in. We should have got prime seating - we deserved it. We should have been seated close to the front for easy disembarking at our destination. And we should have been far far far away from screaming kids, with their sticky fingers, their leaking drink bottles and their pointy toes! And yet for this flight my theory on 'first in best dressed' was shot down in flames. Yes - our luck was in - there were children behind, to our right and directly in front of us. There was NO ESCAPE! We were surrounded.

And then - as if to top it all off - the flight was late.

Aye aye aye.